Friday, January 30, 2015

Butch Patrick answers some fan mail via postcard in 1969

I wonder how excited Karen, who was living in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, was to receive this postcard from child actor Butch Patrick in January 1969?

Patrick, many of you will recall, was well known for his role as widow's-peaked werewolf Eddie Munster on The Munsters, from 1964 to 1966. Before that, he broke into Hollywood with small roles in other TV shows, including Ben Casey, The Untouchables, The Real McCoys, My Favorite Martian, and Bonanza.

After The Munsters, Patrick's varied work included starring in at least two movies for Walt Disney's Wonderful World of ColorThe Young Loner and Way Down Cellar. Then, in the 1970s, there was a starring role in Sid and Marty Krofft's Lidsville, alongside Charles Nelson Reilly and Billie Hayes, plus more TV guest spots.

But it was back during the late 1960s, when he was starring in those Disney TV films, that Patrick received and replied to some fan mail from Pennsylvania. Here's the message on the back of the postcard:

Now, we don't know if Patrick typed that short note himself. But that certainly looks like the signature of a 15-year-old, which is a nice effort on his part.

So perhaps it's not surprising that Patrick, now 61, still interacts with his fans on a regular basis. He does numerous conventions, autograph signings and public appearances throughout the year, especially around Halloween.

According to, Patrick recently filmed a part in the thriller Line 7, alongside Erik Estrada and Sheree J. Wilson. The movie was directed by Star Trek: Voyager's Tim Russ and is due to be released this year.

You can follow all of the latest news about Patrick at his website, which is, of course ...

(P.S. — If you're out there, Karen from Lebanon, and would like your postcard back, drop me an email!)

Mexichrome postcard: Grotesque (or chimera) atop Notre Dame

This undated, unused postcard featuring a view from atop Notre Dame de Paris was produced by Editions Chantal. Where Mexichrome fits in is that it, according to the Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York City, was "a trade name for the continental sized photochromes that were printed in France in the early 1950s for the Fischgrund Publishing Company in Mexico."

On the back of this card, numbered 315, the caption simply states "Le Diable.'

Some might call this piece of architecture a gargoyle, but that would be incorrect (though it's a common — and generally accepted — misuse of the term).

This would be more correctly called a grotesque or chimera. The difference is actually pretty simple:

  • Gargoyle: An elaborate carving with a spout designed to direct water from a roof and away from the side of a building (thus protecting the walls and overall structure from damage and erosion). The back of the gargoyle features a trough and the water is often directed out through a feature resembling a mouth. According to Gravely Gorgeous: "The word, gargoyle, derives from the French gargouille, or throat, from which the verb, to gargle, also originates."
  • Grotesque: A carved stone figure, typically mythical or horrifying, used in architecture. It would not involve a spout. A grotesque can also be called a chimera. A grotesque might be merely decorative, or it might have a role in structural support.

One thing that some gargoyles and grotesques, especially the scariest-looking ones, had in common is that they were sometimes used by the church to (1) convey the concept of evil to illiterate parishioners and/or (2) scare evil spirits away from the church.

Here's one more handy guide, to help you keep everything straight...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Randomly pulled postcard: Connecticut's State Capitol

In my efforts to get a post up tonight, I reached into one of my boxes of postcards and pulled out the first card my fingers touched.

So here it is. The front features an image of the Connecticut State Capitol (an Eastlake Movement structure built in the 1870s). It is dated October 3, 1903, and signed by "Mother."1 The card is No. 1753 and was published by National Art Views Company of New York City.2

The back of the postcard has Hartford and Philadelphia postmarks and a green, one-cent Benjamin Franklin stamp. It is addressed to Master Bert Westover at 817 North 8th Street in Philadelphia.

1. October 3, 1903, was the date of Game 3 of the first modern World Series. It was a best-of-nine series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Boston Americans. The Pirates won Game 3, 4-2, in front of 18,801 fans at Boston's Huntington Avenue Grounds. It took one hour and fifty minutes to play. Boston eventually won the series.
2. According to the Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York City, the National Art Views Company was purchased and absorbed by the The Rotograph Company in 1904. There is an entire blog dedicated to Rotograph, which was in business from 1904 to 1911. The blog is called The Rotograph Project. Though there are only 45 posts, most of them are quite detailed and packed with images. I found the blog via a 2012 post titled "Cryptorotographs."